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General Board / Rapacious Rap
« on: November 16, 2008, 11:30:01 PM »
Jama'a, Sallama

Yup, I am still on with my music thing! Things are quite now because of the change in focus of our sponsors. You may recall that I regularly organize music concerts at the British Council. Alas, they have a new focus now, and music and concerts are definitely off the menu. With no one interested in doing what the BC was doing, we are back to the dark period of not showcasing young and not so young musical talents. I am trying to see if I can somewhow put together a video and audio CD of the various concerts we have had -- but there is too much work to be done, and I am extremely busy with my almajirci. Sigh. But I am mulling over the process and hopefully when things get a little less hectic, I might do something in that direction; but don't hold your breaths.

The only other avenue for public exposure of musical undercurrents in Kano (where I am based) is via underground circulation of what I call Bluetooth Hits. These are songs released not via radio play or on CDs, but through bluetooth facility of cellphones. There had been about three of such releases in the last six months that I am prompted to write an ethnomusicological analysis of their subject matter: poetic invective, or zambo. Since that is a long time coming, I decided to share a few of the thoughts with you (as well as the samples -- more later!).

Traditional Hausa musicians of course are masters at this invective -- Ali Makaho and Haruna Uji war of words, for instance. Even the religious singers -- Masu Yabon Manzo -- were not left out; for instance, Rabi'u Usman Baba's blistering attack ('Yar Wasan Hausa) on the Hausa film industry for their adaptation of Rufa'i Ayagi's religious poem (Ya Muhammadu) to a Hausa video film soundtrack, Ya Matana (by Sani Garba S.K. in Dabi'a).

Now it is Nanaye and Rappers. Nanaye is a new term for synthesizer Hausa lyrics that have mixed gender singing -- the typical fare of Hausa video film soundtracks (and advertising jingles on Radio Freedom!). It has a male voice, and stringent female call-and-resonse chorus ('yan amshi). Even religious subjects are treated this way (e.g. Bashir Dandago's Fatsumatu which was a massive hit about two years ago). Some Nanaye singers often cross-over to Rap. An example is Billy-O, whose Billy Tibani is really a Nanaye song, but rapped over. But perhaps the first Nanaye singer to introduce zambo in his song is Shaba, in his Fati Bappa (a song disowned by the lady herself in an interview with an issue of Fim magazine) in which he sarcastically rendered:

Shaba mai golden voice          Shaba, with golden voice
Na daramma mai muryar kare,      I am superior to he who barks like a dog
Wani mai wakar hanci           He who sings with nasal tone
Sai ka ce ana gudar biki,          As if in a ceremonial ululation
Kai idan yana waka                       See, when he is singing
Kamar an kunna injin markade,     He sounds like a milling engine
So na ke ka fito fili           I want you come out in the open
Ka nuna yau da ni za kai biki,       And challenge me if you dare
In ma rokon Allah                       And I will pray to Allah
Sai ka zamma dan banzan gari..    To turn you into a guttersnipe

The overwhelming view-- not denied by Shaba himself -- in Kano was that he was referring to a well-known imitation singer (whose speciality is imitating the voice of a popular Hausa video film comedian) and with whom they had an altercation sometime before the song.

When the Kano State Censorship under Mal. Rabo became some kind of Taliban for the popular culture industry in Kano, musicians (or more accurately, lyricists) quickly banded themselves and released an underground song, Ki Yi Shiru Maryam Baba (which was instantly renamed Rabon Wahala)

Mai karfi da karfin mulki        You who use abuse your position
Ba ka fi fa karfin Allah ba          Your power is less than that of Allah

Mai karfi da karfin iko               And you use you use your legality
Ba ka fi fa ikon Allah ba            Allah is more legal than you

Mai karfi da karfin khakhi          He who uses the power of his uniform
Bai wuce tasrifin Allah ba         His transformative powers are less than those of Allah

Mai karfi da karfin jama'a         He who uses the power of the masses
Bai wuce rundunar Allah ba      Has nothing on the army of Allah

Allah Kai mukewa kuka            Allah we beseech thee
Zalunci ba zai dore ba            Tyranny will never sustain itself

Wanda duk ya ke zalunci         Whoever terrorises the people
Karshensa ba zai kyawu ba      Will surely come to a sticky end!

The fact the Mal. Rabo was a former Commander of Hisbah Corps (moral police) and was indeed fond of his Hisbah uniform is not lost on those who listened -- and love the song. From my inside sources, Mal. Rabo heard the song and was apparently unhappy with the radio play it was receiving from Radio Freedom. He seemed to have complained, and they suddenly stopped airing it. However, my fieldwork indicates he did not do such thing. If anything, he actually loved the song and had it mobile phone! He says it is a good song that urges leaders to be careful and merciful in what they do -- and there is nothing wrong with that.

But the most fiery invective was from Adam Zango -- a session musician turned into an actor, and later Nanaye singer when the acting seemed to have slipped him. He released a Macossa themed video album last year (2007) titled Bahaushiya -- and he was clamped in jail for almost three months for showing an exposed midrif (of a female) during one of the songs. After his release from prison (after he apologized to the Emir of Kano, the Governor, the People of Kano etc), he recorded a song, A Zango Oyoyo. It was a blistering attack on Kano State and, particularly the Governor, Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau.

To Bisimillah Allah                                            I start with the name of Allah
Zan wake mugun bawan nan                                 To sing about that horrible servant (of Allah)
Jaki mai harbin nan ya fake da cin addinin nan          The kicking donkey, who hides behind the facade of Islam
To Barau ka kama ni,                                            Well, Barau you have arrested me
Kuma ka je ka kulle ni                                           And you have clamped me in a cell
Karshe ma ka daure ni                                          And game me jail term
Ni na ji dadin daurin nan                                        Oh, I am so happy with this jail term

Shi ba daurin Allah ba                                           It is not ordainable by Allah
Ba daurin Manzon Allah ba                                     Nor it is ordainable by His Prophet
Ba kuma daurin Musulunci ba                                  Not even Islamic

Wata motar mota ce                                            Some cars are real cars
Wata motar sai an tura ta                                     Some are just lemons

Wani daktan dakta ne                                          Some doctors are real doctors
Ai wani daktan na abortion ne                               Others are abortion butchers
Wani tailan taila ne                                             Some tailors are real dressmakers
Wani tailan fid da tsiraici ne                                  Some just make clothes that make you nude
Wani malam malam ne                                          Some Malams (Islamic scholars) are real Mallams
Wani malam bokan iska ne                                    Others are just useless marabouts
Wani gemun gemun taure ne...
                         And some beards are just like that of billy goats

The icons used in the song of course allude to Shekarau -- who intensified the Shari'ah in Kano (although it did not start with his Governorship) and of course sports a clipped beard typical of Muslim mallams. Other portions of the song allude to Shekaru's dark complexion.

From my fieldwork, I learnt that Zango insisted the song should be deleted from the computers of the studio where he recorded it -- after transferring it to his cellphone. When he migrated back to Kaduna (allegedly after threats to his life from the few who learnt about the song, although did not hear it), he kept playing the song to his friends -- and eventually someone copied it, who bluetoothed it to someone, to someone etc. It eventually came back to Kano. According to Fim magazine (November 2008), many who heard Zango's song promised to "deal with him" whenever he comes into Kano. In typical Nigerian parlance, it means he will either be beaten, harassed, or worse.

One group that took exception to the song was the K-Boyz -- a duo (stripped from four) of hard core Hausa rappers. After listening to Zango's song, they went to the studio and recorded a blistering counter-attack which they call Bingo. Bingo is a common name for a dog, and from my discussions with them (Hassan and Ibrahim as they are now), they said they use the word Bingo to refer to Adam Zango as a dog, or as they said in one of the more palatable lines of the song:

Kin haifo jaki                        You have given birth an an ass
Mawallafin asara                   Author of misfortune
Da haihuwarsa, tsinanne         Rather than giving birth to the cursed one
Gwamma rashin da ne             It is better to be childless

Bakin kare                             Black dog
Ka ce an daure ka don asara    You complained of being arrested, misfortuned one
Ka ki bin dokoki                      You refused to obey the law
Dole ka sha dauri                    You must therefore be jailed
Da kai da masu binka               So you and your followers
duk babbar........(censored!)     (er.. can go to blazes -- listen to the song, and you will understand!)
Tsinannu jakai,                       Cursed, assess
Mawallafin asara                     Author of misfortune

Ka ce wai Gwamnan mu            You said our  Governor
Na ta ci da gemu                     Is making waves with his beard (promoting Islam)
Ka dakata ka ji mu                   Listen to us
Ai ya fi dai ubanka                   He is better than your father
Mawallafin asara                      Author of misfortune
Mai takama da muni                 You who is preens in his ugliness
Da haihuwarka, tsinanne           Your mother shouldn't given birth to you
Gwamma zama ba bu                Your non-birth is better than your existence

They used the same format he used in starting the song and ending it. It was simply too strong. They started first by abusing Zango's mother, before moving on to Zango himself and his followers, revealing layer by layer, Zango's previous life. I can't bring myself to reproduce it (there are young people, such as Muhsin ;D ;D ;D ;D, reading this board), but it made quite a few allusions to an anatomical portion of Zango's father. Recorded with a hard core beat, it is the classical Parental Advisory candidate that you see on some rap CDs. Due to its abusive contents, the song was not played on any radio station in Kano, but became a hit -- gaining popularity through being transferred via bluetooth. Incidently Adam Zango was played the song, and he was reported (in Fim magazine November 2008) as saying that he doesn't mind, and that it is because he is worth it, that is why they are abusing him. That may be the case; but many would find it odd to be glorified with abuses, rather than praises.

And so it continues. Media technology has provided Hausa youth with the musical power to sustain some of the poetic invectives used by the traditional Hausa musicians and which often could be vicious (e.g. the line in Shata's Bakandamiya which lambasted kukuma music, and which Ahmadu Doka did not like, and became a basis for his own Bakandamiya -- and after which he stopped singing (alledgeby because of being "cursed" by Shata for daring to reply to Shata).

Poetic literary invective is nothing new in literature -- having been around since earliest times when writers and poets started putting their thoughts to paper. It is not likely to end either, because someone somewhere will always take an exception to what another artist does. It becomes worrying, however, when it becomes a standard conversational fare, thus taking people's attention from the creative genius of the poet, singer, or writer.

I have uploaded A. Zango Oyoyo and Bingo to our servers. Salisu will soon send a link to where you can hear or download them.


General Board / Re: Kanoonline--way forward?
« on: November 15, 2008, 10:54:43 PM »
A. The plan:

2. Dr. Adamu of Geography Department, BUK

We shall pay courtesy call to Shekarau if there is time.And I think Mal. Ado Kurawa can help us in keeping an A.P. D. I stand to be corrected please.

Dr. Adamu of Geography is going to the Hajj, too. I wouldn't count on Shekarau and Ibrahim Ado being either around or available at the period, too! And as I said in the other posting, I thought Nura would be on the Hajj too!

General Board / Re: Back to the Future - KanoOnline Next Steps
« on: November 15, 2008, 10:41:23 PM »
On the issue of transforming into an NGO I think if we come to the venue we can brainstorm. Let's not get discouraged. I am confident we can. It all depends on our committment. If you like I can still write a draft and present it at the venue and subject it to the floor for proper debate.

By all means, do so! Bring it up again, and during the December meeting, which everyone kept alluding to (and which I am only beginning to be aware of!), we can set up a small working committee to look at it. Since you are quite proactive about this, why don't you take the initiative of drafting what you can, and then send it to about four others to comment on. During the meeting, you can all get together and harmonise your observations...

...don't forget, however, you are traveling to Makka! Also quite a lot of "important" people would be going -- so there is a chance that only Turkari like us would be around to witness the meeting! (and I will be in Germany from end of November to first week of December!). So again you need to carefully consider your timetable.

Hi Veit

Thank you very much for this excellent collection. I am an ethnomusicologist working in the field in Nigeria and I have never come across these recordings! Rare masterpieces indeed! Does anyone have pictures of the musicians?

I am coming to Basel in February (from 15th) where I have a project with Till Foster of Institute of Social Anthropology. Maybe we can meet over coffee?

Abdalla (

General Board / Back to the Future - KanoOnline Next Steps
« on: November 14, 2008, 07:56:01 PM »
Jama'a, Sallama

I decided to open a separate thread on this to provide members opportunity to contribute to the next levels. It was Muhsin who first drew my attention to the thread and on reading it I feel very excited about the various prospects being discussed. I will outline one or two of my thoughts about this, and then we can decide what the next levels would be.

Let me start with a small preface on Online communities. One of the beauties of being an online community is our collective flexibility and ability to contribute without being hampered by restriction of space and time. This fluidity makes it possible to often suggest schemes and activities that would otherwise be impossible in landbased community. I operate quite a few online communities and over the years we explored a series of projects to strengthen our collective resolve to make things better for our people. Unfortunately none worked; not because of the lack of will, or even the funding, but simple TIME! It is quite easy to debate a particular issue from the comfort of either laptop or a cafe; but to ask someone to attend a  meeting, often in a different city, or mobilize resources is quite dicey! I remember that in the Finafinan Hausa forum, and quite before all this Hiyana hiatus, we decided to rise to the occassion by producing a film ourselves -- a film we believe would be better than the standard fare produced by Kannywood, of which many of us were unfavorably critical. Among the members of the forum we had directors, producers, writers, and even backers; but in the end it didn't work because we are all spatially dispersed and getting people to come together to do one activity was getting too bothersome. So we gave up.

The same thing with arranging an award for writers on Marubuta forum -- again we gave frameworks, suggestions and specific budgets; all to zilch, because of the difficulties in getting us to "come on down" in physical space and organize something.

The point I am trying to make is that organizing an online forum into a landline concern is not as straightforward as it looks. There are many challenges, but of course none are too unsurmountable.

Now let's look at transforming KanonOnline to an NGO. Jibo and Waziri came to Kano over two years ago to discuss this proposal with me and Salisu. We had a lunch meeting and agreed that it is a good concept and welcome idea. We even provided guidelines on how an NGO can be registered in Nigeria, and the sort of requirements needed. With Salisu working at the CAC, we didn't anticipate As far as I could tell, that was where the whole ended, although Jibo can correct me on this. The process of creating the NGO needs to be followed through a series of activities requiring money, and TIME -- that commodity that is more expensive than money! Once the NGO has been formed, it must be SUSTAINED -- again requiring time and money. I used to be part of an NGO -- Center for Hausa Cultural Studies -- which we established in 2003. But after the first flurry of activtiies (funded single handedly by one of our Board of Trustees), we simply lost steam, and could not to move on. Yet every year we had to struggle to pay rent for our offices -- which we rarely use. Lack of time and possibly committment, made it difficult for us to come up with a series of activities that would generate funds to ensure our sustainability. In the end I got fed up with shouldering most of the NGO's financial and logistic responsibilities and quit as the Chairman -- and I vowed NEVER again would I be snared into such situations again. I am a follower, not a leader -- let someone lead, and I quite happy to follow them; at least I can sneak away if the going gets too rough!

So, yes, we welcome the idea of KanoOnline being an NGO. To do that effectively, we need to focus on precisely what we hope to achieve by doing that (goals, vision, mission, strategic planning, long-term planning, deliverables, do-ables, etc). We need to also decide on SUSTAINABILITY -- what would we need to do in order to sustain our existence? We need to also address the issue of startup funding -- funding for office (offices?), payment for the maintainance of the office (running costs), payment for registration (any lawyer in the house?), and funds for ACTIVITIES (which are yet to be determined, and therefore operate on a fluid budget). Once we have clear perspectives on these issues, then we are on the go.

Let me now turn to the Public Lecture issue. I am quite flattered that I am the first choice (among others) for possible candidates! However, as one of the administrators of the Forum, we have always preferred to remain in the background -- happy enough in providing a space for people to let their hair down. Therefore right from the beginning we decided amongst ourselves that we should not be the ones to lead or speak at any function organized by the Forum -- besides words of welcome and goodwill messages.

I think some of the alternatives being nominated are quite good enough. If I recall, they are Dr. Bala Muhammad (A Daidaita Sahu), Dr. Bashir Galadanci (Special Adviser to Kano State Governor on ICT and Education), and Muhammad Rabo AbdulKarim (The Director General, Kano State Censorship Board). One thing to bear in mind, though, is that each one of them is a politician, and would therefore promote a particular political view. This may not be palatable to many on this Forum -- and we have always prided ourselves on our non-participant stand (well one of us, Ibrahim Ado Kurawa has also become a politician by the virtue of being Director General, Directorate for Research and Publications, Government House Kano; but we don't allow that to get in the way!). Whoever we eventually settle on as the speaker for the event, there are logistic issues to be sorted out -- payment for the venue, refreshments, paper duplication, mini-secretariat, transport costs to secretarial staff, etc. We need to determine how these funds would be sourced, for the activity is too heavy for just one or two people to shoulder.

We experimented with the idea of setting up a subscription fee at the other online communities I operate -- and it worked, up to a point. It worked to the level were we usually meet twice a year during the Sallah period to greet each other, and pay a token subscription of minimum of 1,000 naira (but you can pay more if you so desire). Not many were willing to pay -- because we do not meet again until the following year; and people kept asking what happened to their money. So we decided to stop that practice.  It was with the little we got that we provide logistics for the meetings, and in the early stages, even contribute to holding an award ceremony (for the Hausa film industry). As I said, people started grumbling, so we stopped.

So the main issues are: how do we generate enough funds to a) metamorphose into an NGO?; b) hold a Public Lecture somehwere -- either in Kano, Abuja, or even Dubai?!?

I hope this is food enough for thought to enable us to move to the next level.

Happy deliberations.


General Board / Bots and Porn
« on: November 14, 2008, 12:25:16 PM »
Jama'a, Sallama

It's been a long time since I popped in. But as an almajiri, I am always on the move seeking barar ilimi in so many places. I am glad the forum is alive and kicking. Allah Ya sakawa kowa da alhairi.

You might have noticed some unwholesome postings leading to porn sites. We are very upset about this and on investigation discovered that the posting are not necessarily done by human beings, but by script robots who exploit the registry of the website and send their filth. We are now closing this registry. No new members will be allowed to register directly to the Board. Registration from now will be through a third party email address where a person will first apply to become a member and then give their details, upon which we will decide to admit or not to admit. Alternatively, members can act as guarantors to new members -- by introducing them to the admin in a private email.

We apologize for the filth that has been saturating the Board within the last few days, and can assure you that the scholastic integrity you have come to associate KanoOnline with is still intact. Salisu is doing all he can to clean up the Board by the weekend.

So enjoy the weekend. I will come up with a posting called Rapacious Rap soon enough!


General Board / Rappo Pulaar -- BC, KN, 2008-15-03
« on: February 28, 2008, 11:32:09 PM »
Assalamu Alaykum Wa Rahmatullah

I am back! (if I recall, that was James Brown, right?, on "Git Off That Thang"). I am happy to announce another genre forming concert -- Rap Pulaar! Yep, folks, I am going back to my roots -- at the foothills of the Futa Jallon highlands, and digging up Fulani Festival at the British Council on Saturday 15th March 2007, ISA.

One question that my sponsor asked is, how different are Hausa from Fulani? Well basically they are both wonderful human beings, kind, generous, fantastic, beautiful, elegant, etc! :D :D. However, she was more imbued by the term Hausa-Fulani. This term Hausa-Fulani was actually popularized during the military interregnum of Nigeria by southern Nigerian newspapers -- to refer to the leadership of the country by either Hausa, or Fulani military rulers. Since they know the Fulani military leaders speak Hausa, and since they don't know the difference, they decided to lump the leaders Hausa-Fulani. Fulani by ethnicity, Hausa by language. What a kwado!

Fact is, there is no SINGLE anthropological reference to the term "Hausa-Fulani" in any literature by the main founding researchers of Hausa or Fulani Cultural Anthropology. Simply because there is NOTHING like Hausa-Fulani -- you are either Hausa or Fulani. All references (and the earliest was in an article on agriculture in 1937) were to space domains of Hausa and Fulani. There are Hausa as a distinct ethnic cateogry (not just language speakers) and they defined their own ethnicity in The Daura Girgam. They did not even refer to the Fulani because the Fulani had not arrived when the Daura Girgram was written.

There are Fulani as a distinct ethnic identity who ARRIVED from the same Futa Jallon Highlands in the mid 15th century. We are still here! We kinda like it! Commercial, social and administrative divides made many lose their language (pulaar), and adopted the predominant language of the Hausa (not Habe, which is a derogatory term for non-Fulani, not just Hausa). If you are happy calling yourself Hausa-Fulani, fine and dandy; but be aware it is a construct, not a marker of identity. If your identity is Fulani, but are comfortable with Hausa language and cultural systems, great. May you be more tolerant, live long and prosper. Remember, the divisions are social contructs. What matters is your identity and relation to other people -- which should not be based on ethnic markers, but on WHO they are. If you are Hausa, "ciki da bai" -- we thank you for hosting the various ethnic groups in the territory and lending them a language (and for many, an identity). May you live and prosper!

I give all this background to emphasize that there are separate Hausa, and separate Fulani mindsets and social matrices. All the concerts we have been doing at the British Council in collaboration with the Center for Hausa Cultural Studies (hehehe, not Fulani!) in Kano had focused on mainstream Hausa musical performances. We decided, this time at least, to focus on the other, silent majority -- the Fulani. We are doing this on the platform on FULDAN (Fulbe Development Association of Nigeria) -- some who live in Kano might be aware of our activities which include our own Radio programs on Radio Freedom, as well as Fulfulde classes at Gidan Makama Primary School for adults and children who wish to lean, or re-learn Pulaar. We have plans to create multimedia packages on learning Pulaar, and shops to sell Fulani items. I have plans to be in Ethiopia  in April -- where most of the Fulani costumes are found -- and may bring along quite a few stuff! Watch this space (maybe we should demand a separate Board on KanoOnline -- hehehe, BUT all the founding members are fullblooded Fulas; Oga Admin even has the "bille"!).

So what would a Fulani Festival look like? Well for many  years we have only been barely aware of the Fulani musical forms -- strong focus on dance styles -- without actually experiencing it. We now have an opportunity to exprience at least three main performances. I will come up with the full program later, but this is to serve as an invitation. Full details to follow, though they may be late. The reason is I am traveling to London on Sunday for about a week, and my activity there may prevent me from developing the programs and the invitations -- BUT as usual KanoOnliners have priority! AND this time, we will have a meeting of ALL KanoOnliners who attend -- and will hopefully produce a CD of the concert which will be given ONLY to those who PHYSICALLY attend (hehehe -- so those in the Pacific, start thinking of buying your tickets!).

The Fulani festival is the only place where old men and women get up on stage and bop down! So the Pulaku is not in social realms, but in attitudinal mindset that enables negotiations of inter-personal relations. I make this quick excuse, so that you can't say, "haba ji wancan tsohon na rawa!" All Fulani elders are expected to "get down on it" (Kool and the Gang, if I recall) when the Shantu (not the tiny instrument that Hausa women use -- but a BIG trumphet that MEN blow) is playing. Here is a picture of my little Munzir attempting to play one:

And here are the adults in full swing

And of course, I can't resist my all-time favorite genre of music -- Rap! As you see, I always try to filter rap into any musical performance I organize. One of these days I will explain the methods in my madness. But for this concert we have an opening act that will perform 30 minute rappo segment in Pulaar. Will it jell? Dunno, but we are giving it a shot! This will be followed by the main traditional musical performances. So don't allow yourself to just hear about it -- ya just gotta be there, dude (how young people speak to eath other, if I recall ;D.


General Board / Re: KANO MUSIC FESTIVAL 2008 (KAMFEST 2008)
« on: February 01, 2008, 09:31:32 PM »
No, Muda, I was not there on the second day -- too freezing cold! Insha Allah at the next BC concert, I will demand that all KanoOnliners there present themselves! Maybe on the stage, too!


General Board / Re: KANO MUSIC FESTIVAL 2008 (KAMFEST 2008)
« on: January 26, 2008, 09:16:07 PM »
Ah, Muda, you flatter me! I am only doing what needs to be done -- and enjoying it at the same time. I have always been a music freak. I had a very lonely childhood (would you believe, and in the heart of the city, too) and music was the only companion I had. I was lucky I have a father who not only understood my passion for music, but also positively encouraged it (a practice I am passing on to my own children -- a little music does not harm, eh?!), including getting me an acoustic Ukulele (Hawain) guitar which I played off-tune! After years of imbibing rock, heavy metal, soul and funk, I discovered hip hop in 1980s while staying along King's Road in London (yo! Pestallozian, any bells rung there? Sloan Square is not too far from Essex, now was it?). You can imagine trying to listen to rap in the middle of Punk horde that was always waltzing up and down Kings Road (from World's End pub to the John Lewis store at Sloan Square). But, my goodness, it was fun! More encounters with hip hop in early 1990s when I lived in California (I woz there when Kris Kros broke the records!).

I discovered Uwaliya Mai Amada mid 1970s (through my dad, who had a hand in the first, and last, jam session between Uwaliya and the Police Band when he was in government -- now you know where I inherited my avantgarde musical ideas from!) and I was struck by the sheer power of her lyrical performance. The others followed. So when I had the chance to be appointed by the BC to mediate on performance arts, I naturally gravitated towards merging hip hop with traditional sounds. I am not revealing much, Hehehehe, you just wait -- the best is yet to come....

....and Gogan Namu, NO it is not Oumou Sangare -- another favorite, with Aichata Sidibe -- but close enough. The act I am thinking about is closer home to Nigeria (can't afford such international artistes). Also Sangare is French, and I work with the Brits -- these two don't get on well at all. Funny, I was comparing their approaches to Hausa musical traditions and I was struck by how similar, but different they are. The French will fly in a real White FRENCH musician for these activities (and they did this week end). The Brits will fly in a BLACK British person. I have consistenly told them to send us WHITE British to build the bridges of understanding because to Hausa, a British person is WHITE, not Pakistani, Indian, or Nigerian British. But they never listen. Sigh.

I would certainly urge you to go the Alliance Francaise concert -- it is very well organized. In fact the only rowdy people where the WOMEN, especially during the Nasiru Garba Supa number when they started ululating all over! Good to see them enjoying themselve -- a rare event. There were kids -- but it was nice and orderly. But c-c-c-c-cold! Freezing cold. So go with lots of sweaters, snuggle up nice and warm and you will be o.k. Don't forget the activities start at 3.00 p.m. -- so you can always catch something, if not the night concerts.



General Board / Re: KANO MUSIC FESTIVAL 2008 (KAMFEST 2008)
« on: January 25, 2008, 10:30:36 PM »
Oh, thank you very much, Mudan, for this post! You have saved me a lot of typing! I was not aware of this until Ali Bature of the Kano State History and Culture Bureau phoned to request my presence -- but essentially to meet some French Big Wigs. So off I trudled to Magajin Rumfa with my 10 year in tow. I did meet the Big Wigs, and stayed for the first performance (Supa, Super!), but had to leave soon after because it was really freezing cold (and Munzir, being the unripe Fulani that he is, was also shivering).

I am really impressed by the set up and lineup -- and dig those REAL LIVE instruments on stage, no synthesizer in sight! Just like the old days of El Cados and Super Ants (Allah Ya jikan Khalifa Baba Ahmed, who really promoted those bands in the 1970s).

It is interesting, but not surprising, that Eedris Abdulkarim was chosen as the "Hausa rapper". For one thing, he is really good, and tranethnic enough to pass for Hausa (born in Osun and raised in Fagge, Kano).  He is also an international star and would have the World Music appeal to the French. I just wished, though, they had sorta sprinkled the performance with our Kano-based boys. That is why I try, no matter how little, to see that our boys get exposure. They are not megastars, and certainly not polished or professional (I am still winching at the performance of Minor Mistake rap group on 19th January at the BC, Kano), but we need to give them a chance to be better than they are.

This festival is very good and very welcome. I am still sad that it only the foreign cultural agencies that are supporting our own cultural activities. And yet when things get bad (such as with the Hausa video film industry at the moment) we keep blaming the artistes exclusively, not looking at the funding process which denies them the chance to be what the society want.

I am still keeping it to my chest, but my next concert at the British Council is in mid March, insha Allah, and it is going to be something probably NO ONE  has ever seen before! A real splash. I am awaiting the green light on this, though. Its tentative title is FROM THE HEART OF THE MOON. Now those who love West African music should be able to suss out what it might be about! Hehehehe!!! :D ;D :P


Talking about Uwaliya I wonder if prof. has any of her recordings. I was an avid fan of hers when i was in primary school and in my opinion her musical genius surpasses even that of barmani choge, lthough this may be purely sentimental since i ws too young to discern much at that time.
I would love to lay my hands on some of her old classics like wakar paipa( i think she was reffering to money) and others.

I certainly have Uwaliya's archives -- as MP3s too! Not studio quality because I had to convert them from the tape recordings which were not the best of the recordings, but manageable. I will bring the recordings on a CD on Saturday, insha Allah, and give it to you. I will also include Barmani's MP3 archives!

I agree Uwaliya was more accomplished -- I started with her as a kid too and was impressed by her performance. I only came across Barmani's recordings in the early 1990s and became instantly hooked to her lyrics. The two -- Uwaliy and Barmani -- have radically different approaches to the Amada music. While Uwaliya was more anthropological, dealing with cultural and and often political (note her Wakar Murtala), Barmani appeals to younger, bawdier aspect of Hausa female music (note her Yarinya Sha Madarar Lilo)! And, as they say, different strokes for different folks! Me, I would have both of them!

Invitations should be ready about NOW at the BC. So Young Muhsin, PLEASE go to Nom at BC and collect those for Kanoonliners so that they can contact you and collect their own.


General Board / Amada Rap! -- Change in Date!
« on: January 12, 2008, 11:52:47 PM »
Jama'a, Sallama

First I would like to apologize for the long silence from me. As many of you know, the last few months of 2007 had been very hectic for me, being an almajiri and all; so I was gallivanting all over the place, trying to keep to deadlines, etc. I am particularly chagrined at not replying young Muhsin's email and prompts. A yi min afuwa.

I am glad Salisu has posted the Amada Rap press release -- although the date has changed, obviously, from 12th January to 19th January (Saturday), same venue, same time. Some of you might be aware that the British Council Kano has undergone radical changes in staff, philosophy and direction. One of the fallouts of this change is the departure of Sue Mace, the energetic former Director who has always been quite actively supportive in these ventures between the British Council and Center for Hausa Cultural Studies (for which I am the Chairman). While the conception of the activities were mine, the funding is from BC. We have tried to get other agencies of the Kano State government to support us in this way, but no one is interested (and would you believe, so little is spent on these activities such as that one or two people can actually shoulder it!). As a matter of fact, the Center for Hausa Cultural Studies started these concerts as part of our activities to engage with traditional musicians and musics. We approached the BC to ask for permission to use the amphitheatre, and the next thing you know, they have indicated their interest as collaborative partners. I personally paid the first artistes from my own pocket (Muhammad Dahiru Daura, the Operatic Blind Beggar Ministrel); the BC however, took over the payments subsequently.

With the new structure at BC, we were not sure for how long we can sustain these collaborations. One of the effects is the fact that the BC closed down completely during the holidays and only re-opened for emails on 7th January 2008. This meant a lot of the preparations that could have been done -- press releases, rehearsals, contacts and contracts, invitations, etc, could not be done in just five days -- so I had to shift the concert by another week to give everyone time to get ready. So insha Allah we are defintely on on 19th January 2008.

But enough of the rambling! What is an Amada Rap? Another one of my avantgarde musical experiments (did I mention I was a failed musician -- I had to chose between playing the guitar or concentrating on becoming a doctor (my father's dream); I guess the academia won over -- not that it was much of a contest; I was a lousy guitarist! Didn't get to become a doctor either -- not good enough, and hated hospitals anyway!). I wanted to use the Amada calabashes as a RAP sound -- because Barmani Choge herself ACTUALLY did a rap section (without perhaphs realizing it was rap) in one of her epics, Dare Alherin Allah (the Bala Waiman segement).

In my Amada Rap map, I would have young modern lyricists jam with Barmani Choge over her calabash ensemble -- thus merging the old with the new. We did it with Kukuma Rap (Mecca2Medina, Arewa) and Gurmi Rap (Aliyu, Babangida, Kano Ryders -- who have since recorded two tracks of Gurmi Rap with Aliyu). We now move into the female domain with Amada Rap!

In this performance we have four young artistes who will be part of the show. There is X-Man (Corruption) who will lead Minor Mistake (Mace Mai Zagin Miji -- their youngest member is 10 years!). Then there is Amal - a female Hausa (Bakanuwa, to boot) rapper, wo will do Barmani Choge's licks alone, and then in the finale of the performance, jam with Choge and possibly Choge's grand daughter.

Choge remains one of the all-time favorite Hausa musicians. I am always fascinated by the power of her lyrical rhythm and forcefulness of her stage performance. I first saw her live on stage in ABU Zaria while I was a student in 1977; then again in 1980/81 in BUK when I had just started working there -- I have been in love with her music since then. I am saddened she seems to be the last of her generation. When I visited her on December 26 2007 to make the arrangements for the concert, we discussed the possibility of a successor -- but she said she has none, and was emphatic that she would not want her children or grandchildren to take over! Thus even Hausa traditional musicians look down on Hausa traditional music -- for like the mainstream Hausa society, they see their craft not as an artform, but as commercial "roko"; a depsicable profession.

However, one of her grandchildren who is still in high school (and insists that she wants to continue her education, which we very much welcomed) and performs backup, promises to sing (after alot of coaxing from me!) If she agrees, we will jam her with Amal to show how the old and new can be integrated in a New Age packaging to sustain a very beautiful musical heritage.

We are holding rehearsals for the rappers from Tuesday 15th January 2008 for three days at Golden Goose Studios, Gidan Mai Tangaran, Zoo Road, Kano, from 7.00 p.m. Then holding a joint rehearsal with Choge on Friday afternoon and Saturday morning (18th and 19th January 2008) at the BC, before the concert at 7.00 p.m. on 19th.

As usual, members of this forum are warmly invited to the rehearsals, if you can make it, and to the concert. I will make arrangements to put formal IVs at the Security Post at the BC and anyone can pick up theirs (or some for others). Alternatively, I can give young Muhsin a whole bushel of the IVs so that Kanoonliners can get their own from him -- maybe they have easier contact than coming to the BC.

I do urge those wishing to come to ensure they are there at the time stipulated, i.e. from 7.00 p.m. to avoid having to wade through a sea or urchins (whom we welcome too, by the way!). In case of problems, reach me by phone (I am wary of re-publishing my phone number; you need to hear the weird calls I keep getting -- not from members of this forum, I hasten to add!!) through young Muhsin or via my email.

Having put that behind me, I am now racking my brain thinking of the NEXT concert which has to be before April (when the BC financial year ends). Any suggestions? I was thinking of a RAP ATTACK kind of thing (what's with me and rap? Love it, mon!) along the lines of Eminem and 8 MILE - overlayered on a traditional instrument? Crazy enough? Suggestions please, folks!!!!

Dan Barno, we will make video recordings of the concert, and will, insha Allah ensure there is a footage somehwere which you can have access to -- but physically because it is likely to be massive, and can't be uploaded on a server.

I have cleaned up the Gurmi Rap recordings and once I have edited it fully, it might be available to those who may wish to have it. Dunno how we're going to distribute it though, but I will think about it, and if I forget, someone should remind me!


« on: November 02, 2007, 07:24:32 AM »
Well certainly a lot of our verbal fortpolio suggests preference for laziness. Have a gander at these common sayings/proverbs:

Allah Ya ba ku mu samu
Kaya ya tsinke a gindin kaba
Faduwa ya zo daidai da zama
Samun na ku shi ne namu
Tsuntsu daga sama gasasshe...

Can we add more?

Maybe too harsh to generalize to all "northerners" -- leading to useless stereotypes (I am a northerner, and although I hate waking up before 10.00 a.m. (what for?!), I certainly would consider myself, or the huge circle of people I network with, as lazy. But come to think of it, laziness has it merits -- take life easy, or you won't get out of it alive :D :D :D


Lunar Horribilis - Godiya
Jama'a, Assalamu Alaykum,
A madadin iyali na da kuma ni kai na, ina mika dimbin godiya ga daukakin majalisa saboda sakonnin ta'aziyyar rasuwar mahaifiyar mu, Hajiya Rabia't Muhammad Lawan da aka dinga aiko mana ta majalisa, ta tarho, ta imail da kuma da yawa wadanda suka dinga zuwa har gida tare da iyalansu, da kuma wadanda suka dinga zuwa ofis.
An haifi Malama Rabi'at, kamar yadda aka fi saninta, a garin Gwarzo, Kano, a shekarar 1942. Ta rasu ranar Laraba, 24 ga Oktoba 2007 da misalin 10.00 na dare a sakamakon arangamar ciwon asma da ke fama da shi da ya taso mata gadan-gadan lokaci guda.
Duk da cewa ba ta taba fitowa a wani dandalin da nake fitowa ba a wajen nazarce-nazarce na, amma ta yi wani babban fice a inda ba a zata. Masu karatu watakila za su tuna da wani ayarin haruffan Hausa ma su lankwashe-lakwashe  wanda a ke kira Rabiat (rabiat.ttf). To sunanta na sakawa wannan ayarin haruffan lokacin da na kirkiro gundarin haruffan rabiat.ttf ranar 2 ga Yuli, 1995. Na saka sunanta ne domin gode mata da irin gudunmowar da ta bayar wajen ilimintar da ni; saboda haka na sakata a cikin tunanin jama’a ko bayan ranta – sai kuwa ga shi duk da ta rasu, amma kusan dimbin jama’a da dama na tunawa da ita a duk lokacin da aka yi rubutun Hausa da ayarin haruffan Rabiat.
Mun gode mun gode mun gode bisa ta'aziyyar da aka dinga kawo mana har tsahon kwana bakwai-- kuma majalisa a wakilce ta ke sosai domin da yawa 'yan majlaisa suna tare da mu, tun da ga jana'izar har bayan share makoki. Wannan ya dada tabbatar min da muhimmancin wannan mattattar alheri domin zuwan su da kuma zaman su (wadansu ma har da iyalansu) ya taimaka kwarai wajen daurewa da wannan rashin da muka yi.
Mun gode da goyon baya, da kuma addu'o'in da a ka yi mana. Allah Ya karba. Allah Ya ba da lada. Allah Ya bar zumunci. Allah Ya jikan dukkanin Musulmai. Lallai rai dadi ne da shi; kuma rasuwa zafi ne da ita. Allah Ya sai mu cika da imani.
Abdalla, a madadin dukkanin iyalan Muhammad Uba Adamu Kantoma, Mazaunin Kano, Najeriya.

General Board / Re: The Dueling Banjos - Gurmi vs Kukuma Concertos!!!!
« on: October 16, 2007, 08:49:25 PM »
Thank you all for your observations! They mean quite a lot to us and will definitely guide future events. BG you are right about the Dueling Banjos segment being too short. It was not deliberate, but forced on us by the musicians who were very unfamiliar with the method I wanted them to adopt. We spent hours trying to rehearse that segment and the performance you heard was the best they could do. They simply could not grasp the concept. During the rehearsal, I noted that when they converge -- ALL the instruments -- they remain in the SAME tune till the end -- and that was really boring! I repeatedly told them to raise the pitch, vary their tonality, create new harmonies all within the performance -- but they could not do it. I am pretty sure if we had say more than one week of intensive workshop, we would have created a Duelin' Banjos segment that would last for 40 minutes (my initial concept). But this is the first time this concept is being tried in traditional Hausa music and we will definitely work on it for the future. I am hoping to get them into the studio and do a proper recording of the Duelin'  Banjos -- a 30 to 40 minute single track of dueling, and then three other compositions of individual instruments. Time is what is not on my side. I am the only one doing these things, and being an almajiri means I have to keep going up and down neman na naman miya :).

Yes, you are right about Nasiru Garba Sufa recyling his papa's songs. The reason is that the boy is simply too afraid to come up with his own tunes! He is under the impression that he will always be judged by his father's catalog, and in order to be safe, and also keep his father's memory alive, he sticks to the same old groove. Older member of the audience would know that he was playing his father's back catalog; younger members of the audience are meeting the songs for the first time.

In the initial conception of the concert, he had very little role to play. This is because during the rehearsals, I discovered that his kukuma's catawailing did not fit in with the more melodious tunes of the gurmi (my favorite, actually) and the kuntigi. But because we don't want him to feel shut out, we included a 20 minute segment for him (to enable him to earn the money we paid him, too!).

I will definitely talk to him to compose new tunes, and get them to practice them. We even made it possible for the group to get a hefty grant to support rehearsals, purchase of new musical instruments, collaborations, etc. But of course they don't do any of these things. Sigh.

I doubt, though if in the future we will be relying too much on them as a group -- we will be breaking them up; for instance the combination of the gurmi, sarewa and duman girke worked so well that we are thinking of staging THAT segment of the concert at FCE Kano one day. The gurmi musician has also recorded a song with the Kano Riders rap group as a result of this collaboration. As soon as I get hold of the song, I will make it available to anyone who wants it; but I need to know who may want it. I have heard it (they played it AFTER the concertos) and it is just SUPERB. It will even blow away Dan Kauye clean off his sneakers!. The entire concert was recorded and is being cleaned up in the studio. We may make it available to those who want it -- dunno how to sort out the logistics, or maybe just upload the load into our server and ppl can then download from there. There was the idea of making the Duelin' Banjos segment a ringtone!

I am still not sure what to do for the next event (I have two more budgeted). But my thinking is to make it a "woman affair" and re-invite Barmani Choge and her Calabash Orchestra. For the Finale, I might think of an Amada Rap -- getting some female vocalists, such as Fati Nijar to jam with Barmani to the tune of the kidan kwarya! I also want to experiment with kid rappers (pre-adolscent rappers making serious rap recordings, even though I know I might be in the firing line from the culturalist establishment -- we have them (some featured on stage during the Gurmi finale section)  Watch this space for more craziness!!!!

BTW, there were FOUR or FIVE K-Onliners at the event; FOUR met -- myself, Kitkat, Salisu and young Muhsin. BG, you shoulda have ID'd yourself to me -- I was quite prominent, what with pot-belly and Kenyan shirt and all ;D; then I could have taken you to the rest who were sitting close to each other at the front row.

The oyinbos did enjoy it and promised to come back for more! I am overall happy that a good time was had by all and that the concert jelled and the experiment worked. To be frank I was nervous throughout the concert and relieved when it was over!!!!

BTW, BTW, What on earth happened to Husnaa? Shiru ka ke ji kamar Malam ya hadiyi shirwa!! Or maybe she has taken that cheap cut-price ticket to visit her Pestalozzi friend in NZ? Helloooooooooooooo?


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